About the Author:
Mike Tucker is a visual effects designer who worked for the BBC for twenty years before moving on to run his own company, The Model Unit, out of Ealing Studios.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.5 out of 5
Doctor Who: Diamond Dogs
An original adventure featuring the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his companion Bill Potts. The Doctor and Bill arrive on Kollo-Zarnista Mining Facility 27, a facility mining diamonds in the atmosphere of Saturn, and are immediately apprehended as diamond thieves. Their help soon becomes invaluable, however, when one of the facility's miners is lost in the depths of the planet's atmosphere, claiming to have seen something in the clouds. With the possibility of the discovery of a new lifeform and a saboteur on the facility, the Doctor and Bill work to unravel what is going on.
This is a really good Who story, with a perfect balance of mystery, horror, humour and wonder. Tucker manages to weave all of these disparate, and somewhat contradictory, elements throughout the book, making it a genuinely enjoyable read. Some Who books lean too heavily into one element or another, but here there's just enough of everything to be satisfying.
It could be said that Bill's character isn't as strong here as she often was on TV, but it nevertheless did feel like Pearl Mackie's portrayal in her dialogue and behaviour. Far better, however, is Tucker's absolutely spot-on depiction of Capaldi's incarnation of the Time Lord. Once again the author finds the perfect balance by displaying all of the Twelfth Doctor's rudeness, sense of humour, arrogance and boundless compassion.
4 out of 5
Doctor Who: SnowGlobe 7
An original adventure starring David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and his companion Martha. Looking for a beach holiday, the Doctor and Martha instead find themselves within SnowGlobe 7 in the year 2099, where a piece of the disappearing Arctic has been preserved by conservationists. But when cave paintings are discovered beneath the ice, their excavation leads to the awakening of a deadly alien which has been preserved there for millennia.
This story has definite overtones of an Aliens story to it and, particularly with its lifecycle, the Gappa could easily be swapped out for the Xenomorphs. This comparison isn't necessarily a negative note, however, as the tension and horror inherant in the Alien stories is a good match for the behind-the-sofa tone of the Doctor's adventures.
It was also nice to see Martha actually using her medical training here, an aspect of her character which is often forgotten in stories involving her.
3 out of 5
Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror
The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara star in this original adventure. Detecting an unusual energy reading from a Wiltshire village, the Doctor and Clara arrive to investigate. They find the village of Ringstone besieged by huge mutated insects and arachnids, somehow linked to the village's ancient stone circle and a mystery dating back to the Second World War.
The Doctor versus giant insects isn't exactly new territory for a Who story (in fact they even did giant spiders in the current series on TV - Series 11, that is) but here Tucker does it very well. For most of its length, this is a proper Doctor Who horror story and the giant creatures involved will genuinely give you the creeps on that deep primal level that most people share. It's safe to say that this is not a story for arachnophobes.
Unfortunately the latter third or so of the book is not as strong since the aliens behind everything that's going on, despite being giant scorpions, are just not as threatening and creepy as the giant bugs that have already been pretty much dealt with by that point. Also, Clara's bodyswap situation is awkward and really doesn't go anywhere that justifies it having happened in the first place, beyond merely being a motivational factor for the Doctor.
One final thing that I found out of place in this book was the military involvement. The soldiers who feature are all perfectly good characters and they are, completely justifiably, treated by the author as heroes, however, their inclusion in that respect here is at odds with one of Twelve's big character aspects; his specific dislike of soldiers. I felt that in a story featuring soldiers so prominently, there should have been a scene where the Doctor gets called out on the subject or at the very least some acknowledgement of it. Added to this out-of-place feeling for the soldiers is the fact that Tucker keeps using unnecessarily specific military hardware terminology. In a Doctor Who story we really don't need to know the type and model of the missiles mounted on the Apache gunship or the specific type of rifles being used by the troops. It's clear that the author is, at least, a military enthusiast (nothing wrong with that, I am too) but it seems weird to lean on that in a story featuring a Doctor who is very specifically anti-military.
3 out of 5
Doctor Who: The Nightmare Of Black Island
An original adventure featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Rose Tyler. When the TARDIS is pulled to a remote coastal village in Wales by Rose's nightmares, the Doctor knows something dangerous is afoot. They soon discover that the village is terrorised by surreal monsters every night and it is something to do with the abandoned lighthouse on Black Island.
The setting of this story is perfectly chosen Doctor Who material, with an isolated community under siege from a mysterious dark power and, whilst it never gets too grim, this book definitely leans towards the horror aspect of the Doctor's adventures. Tucker does a great job of setting the scene and building the tension.
Also worthy of praise is the absolutely spot-on depiction of Tennant's iconic Doctor, perfectly mixing his boyish charm, boundless compassion and fiery temper.
4 out of 5